Joint Commission to revise another 200-plus standards next month

The Joint Commission unveiled the second tranche of its planned accreditation standards reduction, which will become effective Aug. 27.

More than 200 standards will be either eliminated or consolidated as part of the organization’s push to streamline its requirements and remove those “that do not add value to accreditation surveys.”

The round largely focused on elements of performance for programs related to non-hospital settings, such as ambulatory care facilities, behavioral care facilities, laboratories and nursing care centers.

The reductions follow similar housekeeping in December that cut or revised 182 standards and are part of a broader review announced last September. The elements of performance considered for revision as part of the review included those not related to state or federal requirements.

“When we announced the first tranche of eliminated and revised standards in December 2022, hospital leadership and direct care providers alike were extremely supportive of the news that Joint Commission standards would be fewer but more meaningful,” Jonathan B. Perlin, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of the Joint Commission, said in the announcement. “After such positive feedback, we are pleased to extend additional relief to our accredited organizations outside the hospital setting—especially as this is where patients most frequently receive care.”

The non-acute programs Joint Commission said will see cuts or consolidation are:

  • Ambulatory Health Care, 31 standards (15% reduction of reviewed standards)
  • Behavioral Health Care, 20 standards (25% reduction of reviewed standards)
  • Critical Access Hospital, 23 standards (15% reduction of reviewed standards)
  • Laboratory, 64 standards (28% reduction of reviewed standards)
  • Nursing Care Center, 19 standards (26% of reviewed standards)
  • Office-based surgery, 22 standards (9% of reviewed standards)
  • Home Care, 24 standards (15% of reviewed standards)

Additionally, the Hospital Accreditation Program saw another seven of its standards deleted or consolidated while four others were revised, according to the accreditation organization.

The early round of reductions had also come with word that the Joint Commission would keep its accreditation fees flat in 2023, which the organization said would help minimize providers’ burden.

Just a few weeks ago, the group introduced a voluntary certification for hospitals and critical access hospitals pursuing health equity. The so-called Health Care Equity Certification Program “is well-suited for organizations that are already on their journey to healthcare equity and would like to formalize structures, processes and goals for identifying and addressing health disparities,” Joint Commission said.

The Joint Commission has also been pursuing new measures for hospitals and critical access hospitals focused on sustainability—though it has since decided to make those an optional goalpost following negative industry feedback.